The Alabama Cooperative Extension System
 Monday, May 25, 2015
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                                                                                                Lisa C. Murphy

                                                                                                Regional Extension Agent

                                                                                                Family & Child Development

                                                                                                News Article






            Why Clean?  Well there are basically five reasons.  They are sanitation, safety, scenery, serenity and savings.

Sanitation – Staying health is one good reason to clean.  Germs (bacteria, fungus, viruses) thrive in unclean conditions.  Dust can cause problems for those with allergies.  Cleaning goes a long way toward fighting the common cold.  It can also discourage unwanted little pests better than any mousetrap or roach killer.

Safety – Many accidents could be prevented by keeping things neat and orderly around your home.  In a car, many accidents are caused by the driver being distracted by things rolling around on the floor, or from clutter that interferes with your vision.  At home we may trip on that stack of magazines as we make our way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Cleaning can make our homes safer.

Scenery and Serenity – What makes you feel better than “clean” – sheets, shirt, and windows?  Keeping things clean keeps you in a position to function well physically, but also mentally and emotionally too.  Keeping your home and yourself clean can provide a sense of peace.  Dirt and clutter rob you of space, freedom, health, respect, position, and production.  Sloppy surroundings carry over into your thoughts and emotions and affect the way you perform at work and home.

Saving Money – Dirty things wear our faster.  A neglected carpet will only last half as long as one that is cleaned regularly.  Letting the “mess” build up requires more cleaning chemicals and effort when you do finally clean.  Dust and dirt plug up the coils in vents and collect on appliance coils which wastes electricity.

Who can clean?  Anybody who is old enough to mess up is old enough to clean up.  It’s never too soon or too late to teach that “if you got it out or dropped it there, then you pick it up and put it back!”  By not making people (namely our families) responsible for their mess, we teach them that they aren’t responsible for their own actions.  Believe it or not this carries over into other areas.  If continually we take care of our family’s messes they don’t believe or even know that their messes are a problem and that the problem belongs to them!

            In many respects we shape our society in our own home!  If we won’t take responsibilities for our own home why would anyone think we would take responsibility for our children, schools, community?

How Can I Get Organized?

-         Look at the size of the area to be cleaned?

-     Look at the nature and degree of soil.

-         Look at the time available to do the job.

-         Look at the amount of energy you have to devote to the project. 

How Can A Schedule Help?  It helps to provide a plan for completing household chores.  It also makes dividing work among several members of the household more convenient.

So How Do I Go About Establishing A Work Schedule?  First make a list of all chores that must be done in all area of the house.  Then get other family members to help in planning and carrying out this work schedule.  And lastly decide how frequently chores should be done, daily, weekly, occasionally or seasonally.  Forget About Spring Cleaning!  Regular cleaning minimizes the need for heavy seasonal cleaning.  Do it Now!!!

Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Kitchen -  Organize your kitchen.  Put things where you use them in an easy to reach place. 

-  Try the “clean as you work” rule.  Rinse utensils as you work so you won’t wind up using every tool in the drawer. 

-  Clear and stack dishes when you finish the meal.  If you can’t wash then – soak’em.  It makes washing easier.  Or place them directly in the dishwasher after the meal.

-  Clean the refrigerator regularly.  Once or twice a week helps you to be able to still remember what is in those little containers.

-  Baking soda removes food odors like garlic, onion and others from cutting board surfaces.  Just sprinkle dry onto board and rub with a damp cloth.  Rinse with clear water.  Sanitize, especially after meats with a mild chlorine bleach solution.

-  Remove the build-up of coffee oils and tea stain and sweeten the pot by washing with baking soda.  Just sprinkle onto a damp cloth, rub and rinse.

-  Soak plastic food containers overnight in a soda solution to remove stubborn odors.

-  Open a mildly clogged drain by pouring a handful of baking soda down the drain, then add ½ cup of white vinegar.  Cover the drain tightly for a few minutes, then flush with cold water.

-  Washing down woodwork, walls, and blinds by using a mixture of one cup ammonia, ½ cup white vinegar, and ¼ cup of baking soda with one gallon of water.  Wipe solution over surface, rinse with clear water.


The “clean as you go” rule applies here too.  Rinse out the tub or shower after each use. 

-  Pull the shower curtain closed to let water run off after each use.

-   Non-skid shower mats can be washed by machine with laundry detergent.  Add a little bleach if the mat is mildewed.  Wash the bath mat along with it and they’ll help each other come clean.  You can wash the shower curtain the same way, with a couple of terry bath towels to help “scrub” the curtain.

-  Rubbing alcohol will remove water marks from chrome faucets and leave them shining.

-  Give yourbathroom mirrors and anti-fog treatment.  Take a damp sponge, washcloth and rub a bar of soap.  Then apply a thin soap film to the mirror.  Wipe with a clean dry, cloth until the streaks are gone.  This will last a week or more, keeping the mirror clear during hot, steamy showers.

-   For rust on the tub, try a paste of cream-of-tartar and peroxide.

-  Baking soda on a damp cloth will clean, deodorize, and remove mildew on fiberglass showers without scratching the surface.  Rinse well.

Remember  - Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach.  The resulting fumes can seriously and permanently damage your respiratory system. 

-  Don’t lay aluminum foil over the bottom of your oven to catch drips and spatters.  The reflection on the heating coils will change the inner temperature of your oven.



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